Patricia on the Boston Harborwalk, Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt and tide.
The Boston Harborwalk is a 47-mile continuous public walkway from Chelsea to the Neponset River along the Boston waterfront. Currently 80% completed, it is a treasure for locals and visitors alike, and I never tire of strolling along a small portion of it, watching the boat traffic and inhaling the briny, mineral scents that are part of a busy working harbor. The tides, too, influence the degree of intensity of salt and vegetation in the air. During high tide, saltiness predominates, and the breeze is fresher and cleaner smelling. Low tide, however, uncovers the rocky bottom, exposes wood pilings and seaweed, and adds an interesting vegetal and animalic muskiness to the air.
Wood Sage & Sea Salt, a cologne created by Christine Nagel for Jo Malone, falls within the cleaner range and is what I would call a high-tide fragrance. It opens with a refreshing blast of grapefruit and ambrette, which as it is an unusual combination of top notes, sadly doesn’t last long enough to suit me. The overall effect is one of freshness from the citrus and depth from the plant-based musk tones in the ambrette seed. Soon, the sea salt and sage come into play, and they, too, are clean and polished and not likely to offend. This stage lasts for a few hours, not changing in essential character but gradually fading to a pleasant skin scent.
As pretty and well constructed as Wood Sage & Sea Salt is, it is fairly simple and non-demanding, much like other fragrances in the Jo Malone line. Not that wearability is in itself a bad thing. No doubt I will often reach for my decant and enjoy it for what it is. It is a perfect fragrance for the office, going out for dinner, meeting the in-laws, or any occasion when your perfume shouldn’t have the starring role. And there are many such instances in daily life. Although Wood Sage & Sea Salt is unlikely to stand up to the chill of winter temperatures, it is just right for summer days and the warm days and cool evenings of early fall.
One issue I do have with this perfume concerns its longevity. Within two or three hours, it is no more than a barely perceptible skin scent on me. At $60 for a one-ounce bottle (30 ml), it is a bit pricey for the frequent reapplication necessary. However, I can see it being a good candidate for the layering technique (with other Jo Malone fragrances) recommended by the company.
For those looking for a low-tide fragrance with some dirty bits, I would recommend Sel Marin by James Heeley. This is an Eau de Parfum that has a strong citrus opening before the marine salt and seaweed take over. The heart of the perfume actually contains a hint of marine life, smelling like a bowlful of freshly steamed mussels accompanied by large lemon wedges.
Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne contains notes of ambrette seed, sea salt, red algae, grapefruit, sage. 30ml/$60. Available at Jo Malone boutiques, Neiman Marcus, Nordstroms.